Beat down: 2015 Fox 36 Float Rc2

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1109141115The new Fox 36 came out with a ton of press; and for good reason.  The original 36 was a game changer.  Single crown forks had never been so good, light, and ride-able.  However, years passed and the 36 remained a great fork, but other manufacturers jumped up and started producing great long travel trail forks as well.  Rock Shox put out the Lyric and then the new Pike, Marzocchi and Manitou did something…

Overview: Coming in at just under 4.5lbs, the first thing you notice when you pull this thing out of the box is that it is light.  Like silly light. Frankly, with forks of this caliber coming in so light it starts to make you question why you would ever go for less fork.  Next, looking at the whole construction, the fork is clearly a well oiled machine.  Machining and detail are second to none.  A close inspection shows that the huge amount of lower leg on the old 36 is gone, and the steerer/crown junction is about half the height of the previous generation.  These changes allow a 2015 36 running 170mm of travel to have the same ride height as a 2014 34 running 160mm.  Pretty nifty.  Additionally, the fork now relies on a self adjusting air negative spring, which makes a world of difference.  The air chamber can be tuned as well with the use of easy to add air volume spacers.

Initial Feel:  My first thought, “Who put a DH fork on my trail bike?”  Not in a heavy way, not in an overkill way; purely in an “Oh my, how does this feel so good?” way.  In all reality, I am a big rider.  At 225lbs, and riding in the pro category for the last 7 years, I put a pretty good hurt on most suspension products.  That said, suspension has been consistently improving for the past ten years.  10 years ago the benchmark was: It squishes, and it has some kind of rebound so I don’t get thrown on my face.  Now a days things are getting better.  I can honestly say, the 36 is the first all-mountain product that feels like I have true, position sensitive, suspension on my trail bike.1109141115b

Long Term:  Guess what?  It lasts.  It lasts really well.  This thing has been on the front of my trail bike getting ridden 15 hours a week since April and it feels as good as the first day I put it on.  The small bump sensitivity is amazing.  This fork actually does something with braking bumps.  For a trail fork that is saying something.  The concern of course is that to get that sort of sensitivity Fox may have sacrificed on mid sized, and large hits.  Fear not however as the fork excels in both areas.  Truely, there is not a more capable fork that I would want to strap to my bike.

1109141115aBottom Line:  SO, this isn’t a super long tech geek review.  Bottom line?  This fork is everything that it should be and then some.  The obvious question then besides, “How does it work?”, is how does it compare to a Pike?  Having ridden both, there is a ton of overlap.  Both forks are great choices.  I have heard some rumblings about long term durability/quality control with Pikes, however I haven’t seen anything.  I will say; all metal internals makes me happy.  So the real difference between the two forks comes down to the rider.  Are you a trail rider who likes to stick to more mellow trails?  The Pike has a slight edge in this category.  Are you the kind of rider who wants your trail bike to have the ability to do anything you throw at it?  If so the 36 is the fork for you, as it has another level that the Pike doesn’t.  You could say;

this one goes to 11.

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